NWAC Presents on MMIWG Inquiry at IACHR Ahead of International Human Rights Day

December 9, 2016 (Washington, DC) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) appeared alongside the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) today before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  NWAC Interim President Francyne D. Joe relayed the shared concerns of NWAC and FAFIA regarding the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

NWAC has previously found support for its work in raising awareness about issues affecting Indigenous women from the IACHR.  The scrutiny of their reporting applies international pressure on the government of Canada in matters of addressing human rights issues in law and policy.  Their report, entitled ‘Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada,’ was instrumental in petitioning the government to launch the national Inquiry and getting the government to commit funding for a safe public transport option along BC’s Highway 16, commonly referred to as the ‘Highway of Tears.’  

NWAC Interim President Francyne D. Joe reported on NWAC’s participation following her speech at the IACHR.  “We’d like to see the recommendations of the IACHR and the report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) implemented at every point of this Inquiry, particularly in regards to investigating the systemic causes of violence.  There is deeply entrenched sexual discrimination and racism in policing and the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry contain no mechanism for the independent review of individual cases where there are outstanding concerns over the adequacy or impartiality of police investigations.”  President Joe provided the IACHR commissioners with concrete examples of police discrimination and misconduct, citing the disparaging and racist comments made on social media by a police sergeant in regards to the death of Annie Pootoogook and the abuses of power in Val-d’Or.

“NWAC has direct contact with the communities whose interests we represent.  We can identify omissions in the Terms of Reference that are unique to Indigenous issues, such as how there is no explicit provision made for the accurate translation of the Indigenous languages spoken by the families and friends that will be addressing the Inquiry.  We have an understanding of women’s needs and the tools they need to care for themselves and their families. We hope that the IACHR’s recommendations will include the need to meaningfully consult with NWAC going forward,” President Joe continued.

“I’m grateful to have the aid of the IACHR in raising awareness about our work and find this a fitting end to our participation in the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women as we recognize International Human Rights Day on December 10th,” NWAC Interim President Joe concluded.

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CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC Remains Resolved to End Violence Against Indigenous Women This National Day of Remembrance

December 6, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – On December 6th, 1989, 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal lost their lives at the hands of a lone gunman. Every year on this day, the nation recalls how the biased hatred of one man led to the senseless mass killing of innocent women. Sadly, this tragic event exposed the epidemic of gender-based violence in Canada.

“Today, we commemorate the women who were killed in Montreal for the sole fact that they were female students. It’s a day to consider our actions going forward but also a day to contemplate what we’ve accomplished so far,” reflected NWAC Interim President Francyne Joe.

In 2012, NWAC was gathering signatures demanding an inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, declaring it a “crucial step in implementing a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to address the scale and severity of violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls.” In 2015, leadership expressed that NWAC was looking forward to working closely with the new government, continuing to consult with the families and survivors of those impacted, and taking action to end systemic violence against Indigenous women after the Liberal government announced that a national inquiry would be established.

“Looking back, I see that we haven’t come as far as we’d hoped. There was no justice delivered for the Indigenous women of Val-d’Or who were sexually assaulted and we once again need to establish an inquiry; this time in the province of Quebec,” began President Joe. “The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has failed to open the lines of communication with families or survivors of victims, we have limited involvement in the Inquiry, and we won’t begin to see movement from the Inquiry until the spring of 2017.”

“We will not be disheartened. We will continue to speak for victims suffering in silence, to root out systemic gender and race-based violence at the source by challenging problematic policies, and to engage in education initiatives that will prepare all youth to treat each other with dignity and respect,” Francyne concluded.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.  As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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New NWAC Executive Director Focuses on Policy and Branding

December 5, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is excited to welcome new Executive Director Lynne Groulx.  

A Métis woman with both civil and common law degrees from the University of Ottawa and a specialization in Indigenous law, Ms. Groulx is fresh from a senior position at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  Lynne has already begun applying the guiding principles of corporate business to a non-profit organization with the aim of creating an organization that operates in a manner that is fiscally sound and transparent.  Her background in economic development, policy, and business law has provided her with ample scope in addressing the challenges ahead for an organization that must constantly adapt based on which financial resources are available and where political support is coming from.

“From what I’ve observed,” offered NWAC Interim President Francyne Joe, “Lynne is incredibly hard-working, decisive, and self-assured.  Lynne’s background in Law has a huge impact on the way she thinks.  She quickly identifies what needs to happen next and considers all possible outcomes.  Our individual roles and expectations within this organization are going to be more clearly defined and we’re going to be very responsive to our Board of Directors.  She’s very direct and positive.  I think this ripple effect is going to be felt at every level internally and certainly from the outside as we start taking stronger stances on the issues that affect us.”

In addition to emphasizing branding, marketing, and image, Lynne remains dedicated to NWAC’s core values.  “I’m bringing a business perspective to the way NWAC will operate but on a policy level, I’m thinking about individuals and the collective.  I want to help Indigenous women and their families and continue to be an advocate for human rights.”

Ottawa can expect to benefit directly from the new leadership at NWAC.  When asked where she sees NWAC in three years, Lynne divulges “I see us in a new home that’s welcoming to Indigenous women and reflective of the space we deserve.  I’m very impressed by the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and envision the NWAC offices to be similarly designed to be mindful of the women who visit and respectful of Indigenous culture.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.  As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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NWAC Hosting Tracie Léoste & Amanda Rheaume at Free Live 16 Days Event

December 2, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – For this year’s 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is proud to present “Voices in Honour: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women & Girls.”  The event takes place Monday, December 5th at 5:30pm at the Jock-Turcot University Centre on the University of Ottawa campus.

Speaker Tracie Léoste is visiting from Regina, Saskatchewan to share her inspiration for running and advice for with those wishing to take action to help end violence against women.  A woman of Métis descent, Léoste ran an astounding 115 kilometres from Oak Point, Manitoba to The Forks in downtown Winnipeg to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and raise funds for a not-for-profit organization designed to support the families of the missing and murdered in 2015. She was only 16 years old at the time.

Juno-nominated performer Amanda Rheaume identifies herself as Métis and often draws from her family history in weaving rich musical narratives. Her song ‘Red Dress’ is inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project and brings attention to the high rates of gendered and racialized violent crimes against Aboriginal women occurring in Canada. Rheaume will play a short set that includes the powerful ‘Red Dress.’

NWAC hopes that this event will inspire attendees to take action and make a contribution to the movement to end violence against Indigenous women and, in solidarity, all women.  “We will bring awareness to the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women and pay tribute to the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada,” offered NWAC Executive Director Lynne Groulx.

“I’ve been honoured to speak at the 16 Days opening press conference and the ‘End Violence Against Women Now’ panel hosted by KAIROS,” NWAC President Francyne Joe commented.  “Violence against Indigenous women and girls is one of the core issues that NWAC is actively addressing and one that’s very personal to me.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.  As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

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Dismissal of “Sixties Scoop” Class Action Suit Would Violate Spirit of Reconciliation

December 1, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is surprised and greatly concerned with the federal government’s plan to press for the dismissal of the landmark lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of Aboriginal children taken from their families during what is commonly referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.”

From December 1965 to December 1984, an estimated 16,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their homes and placed in non-Aboriginal homes.  Being torn from their support systems and cultural identities severely impacted these individuals, their communities, and future generations. The federal government ignored their obligation to consult with Aboriginal bands before proceeding in this matter, did not take actions to educate the children about their heritage post-adoption, or even initiate post-adoption reviews of the children’s safety.

The federal government’s stance regarding the lawsuit runs contrary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to work towards full reconciliation with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. The recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report include providing both individual and collective reparations.  Beyond considering the physical, emotional, and psychological anguish of the plaintiffs, “States have an obligation to take effective measures…to make reparations where traditional knowledge or cultural rights have been violated.”

“If the Liberal government truly supports reconciliation, they must accept ownership and responsibility for the federal government’s role in the Sixties Scoop,” contributes NWAC president Francyne Joe.  “As a mother, it is heartbreaking to imagine the ordeal that these children and families have undergone. In cooperation with the spirit of reconciliation laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Report, this damage must be formally acknowledged and this case must be tried.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.  As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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CONTACT:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033
Email: lgroulx@nwac.ca

Please follow and like us:
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